Social Network Analysis Across Small-Scale Societies

February 2011

We will bring together field anthropologists working with traditional populations and experts in social network analysis to engage in a productive discussion about the possibility of a collaborative, cross-cultural research effort to map the social networks of traditional populations. The ultimate goal is to understand better the extent to which social networks of traditional populations resemble the social networks of Western populations; whether cross-cultural differences can be understood as responses to local geographic, cultural, and economic conditions; and whether there is something deeply fundamental about the structure of social networks that humans form. The seminar will focus on the feasibility of collecting such social network data in a number of traditional populations, with emphasis on how to identify reliably individual relationships subject to local constraints while maintaining comparability across populations.